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Goodyear to spend $100 million upgrading Topeka plant

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The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. announced today it has approved plans to modernize its Topeka, Kan., tire plant. The upgrade of equipment and processes will begin in the fourth quarter, continue over five years, and could cost the company more than $100 million.

"Investing in Topeka will improve Goodyear's ability to better serve our customers by establishing a production site that would be fully capable of meeting market demand for large, off-the-road tires," said John Loulan, vice president of operations for Goodyear's North American Tire business unit. "This investment will allow us not only to satisfy current customer requirements efficiently, it also will position the company to broaden our product line as we strive to meet customers' needs for larger-size tires."

Community support, tax incentives, the approval of bonds to be used in conjunction with investments and a new labor agreement struck with the United Steelworkers of America Local 307 all played a part in the planned upgrades, the company said.

The plant started producing tires in 1945 and is the Topeka area's fifth largest employer with an annual payroll of more than $100 million.

It is the largest Goodyear OTR tire plant in the world and the only one in North America, the company said. It is also one of two Goodyear medium radial truck tire plants in North America.

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